Book 2: Dragon Country
Carla, James and Geneva continue their trek north through Underice. They know that Gwarath, the gnome, is up to something and solving their Quests depends on them figuring out what’s going on.
As they head north, the children explore the depths and heights of Underice and meet a variety of Elder Folk, some of whom are out to help them… others who are out to stop them.
What follows are the first two chapters from Dragon Country. Dragon Country is 156 pages in print and not illustrated.
Chapter 1: The Story So Far
This book that you’re reading is neither the beginning nor the end of the story. There’s a whole book of story behind you, and two more including this one, in front. In fact, there’s even more to tell. But, I assure you that there are some exciting bits coming in this book and we do, indeed, reach an end in the next book.
In case you missed Book 1, Chasing the Gnome, or read it a while ago, I’ll just quickly run through what happened there. If you find yourself thinking, “Oh, get on with it!”, then please do jump to the next chapter. What with how Chasing the Gnome ended, I’m pretty sure you’re keen to find out what happens next. After all, we left the story with little Geneva, the fairy, being scooped up by a fierce dragon just moments before she would have plunged into the Angard River.
Who is Geneva and how did she end up at the Angard River in the first place?
Since the book is called Chasing the Gnome, you won’t be surprised to hear that it started with a gnome. His name was Gwarath. Carla, an 11-year-old girl, spotted Gwarath removing a fan from her air conditioner. She didn’t care about the fan, but she did care about the Quest that she had suddenly found herself in. She asked her friend and next door neighbor, James, to help her figure out what Gwarath was up to.
The two of them followed, or you could say “chased”, Gwarath all the way to a hidden world called Underice and Gnarsh, a city full of gnomes. There, they met Ringa.
Ringa was a friendly old gnome who told Carla and James about the history of Underice. She told them about Culpepper Fangorn, whose power over ice allowed him to create a safe haven for the Elder Folk. She also gave Carla a Communicator and offered to help Carla and James if they were in trouble.
Not long after parting ways with Ringa, Carla and James met Geneva, who turned out to be a princess among the fairies. As with Carla, Gwarath had stolen something from Geneva. Except in Geneva’s case, what Gwarath stole was far more precious: her Wingstone, the source of her power.
Carla, James and Geneva made a brief stop at the Fairy Ring. Geneva was also on her 11 Quest and it appeared that her Quest was going to be mixed in with Carla’s. The three continued tracking Gwarath up into the Angard Hills and the three children and the gnome came together at the Angard River.
And that’s how the story ended: with Carla and James on one side of the river, Gwarath on the other and Geneva being scooped up in mid-air over the river by a swift dragon who came out of nowhere…
Chapter 2: Davey
Gwarath, terrified, was relieved that he hadn’t dropped his hat and quickly flung it away from the river, the dragon and the children. He flew over the trees and into the distance.
The dragon turned around in its flight and landed near the spot where the gnome had just been standing. He gently laid the fairy down on the ground.
The dragon had bright green scales all over its body. His eyes were black spheres in the sides of his long, pointed head. His mouth was lined with razor sharp teeth. His tail was as long as a human adult, and his neck was nearly that long as well. Three people lying end-to-end would be just about as long as this dragon.
Geneva was stunned. She had never imagined a large, scary-looking dragon saving her from the dangers of the river. Since she hadn’t said anything, the dragon started thinking that perhaps something was wrong.
“Are you okay?” the dragon asked Geneva.
Geneva’s attention came back to the present. “Yes.” Realizing that she owed her life to that dragon, she hastily added, “thank you!”
“You’re welcome! I’m glad you’re okay. My name is Davey. What’s yours?”
The dragon looked at the ground and shuffled his front claws in the grass. “I know it’s not a very good name.”
“It is a fine name,” Geneva quickly added, with a reassuring smile.
“Well, maybe for a fairy, but not for a dragon. It’s not like Draco or Storm or something big and strong sounding like that.”
“No, really. You seem like a very nice dragon and Davey is a fine name for a dragon.”
Davey looked cheered. “You think so? But shouldn’t dragons be mean and fierce? I sort of want to be mean and fierce, but I’m on this Quest…”
“You’re on a Quest?” Geneva interrupted.
“Yes, I’m in my 11th year and the dragon shaman said that my Quest is to save the lives of three beings. And now I’ve just saved you! That means I have two more to go.”
“Wow. That’s amazing.” Geneva looked astonished. “I am 11 and on a Quest, as is my friend Carla.” Geneva pointed across the river at Carla.
Carla and James looked a bit confused and concerned that their tiny fairy friend was talking to a large, ferocious-looking dragon.
“Oh!” Geneva exclaimed. “Can you take me across the river? I’m sure my friends would like to meet you!”
“Of course I can,” Davey said. He looked pleased to be able to help. He carefully picked Geneva up in one of his front claws and his powerful hind legs pushed him swiftly into the air. The dragon practically jumped across the river, with just a single beat of his wings to keep them aloft. Upon landing, he neatly folded his wings at his side and gently set Geneva on the grass next to Carla.
“Thank you,” Geneva said to Davey. “Davey, these are my friends Carla and James,” and she pointed to each in turn. She then realized that she hadn’t introduced herself. “Oh, and I am Geneva. Carla and James, this is Davey the dragon.”
Not sure what the proper etiquette was when meeting a dragon, Carla curtseyed. James was pretty sure that shaking a dragon’s claw was not only not what was expected of him, but was possibly dangerous as well. Those claws looked sharp! Instead, James just gave a little bow at the waist. Davey dipped his head as a form of bowing back.
“I’m pleased to meet you both,” Davey said.
“Wow! A real dragon,” Carla exclaimed. “And you talk and everything!”
“Of course, I talk! What kind of dragon doesn’t talk? That would be like a dragon that can’t fly.”
“It was amazing how you saved Geneva,” Carla said. “You flew in so quickly, I could hardly see you. I didn’t realize that dragons were such nice creatures.”
“Dragons are just like any other kind of creature,” Davey said. “Some are nice, some are not. In my case, I like to be nice. And, I’m on a Quest. I am to save the lives of three beings. Geneva was the first.”
Davey looked at Geneva. “That reminds me… when I saw you flying toward those rocks, I wondered why you didn’t just fly away. Fairies can fly, right?”
Geneva’s face turned glum and she sighed. “Yes, fairies can fly. We get our magic, and our wings as well, from small stones that we are each given at birth. They are called Wingstones. That foul little gnome took mine! I was trying to get it back from him when he flung me into the river. Had you not flown to my rescue, Davey, I do not know what would have happened to me!”
Davey growled and the others jumped. The sound of a dragon growling is a scary thing that few who hear live to tell about. “He stole your Wingstone? That’s terrible. We should get him!”
Davey looked ready to take off that instant and go flying after the gnome. The gnome had a few minutes’ head start, and it didn’t seem like that would be enough to keep the dragon from catching up.
Carla, sensing that the dragon was ready for action, said “Wait! We’ve got two things we need to do. We need to get Geneva’s Wingstone back, and we need to figure out what that gnome is really up to. Gwarath, that’s his name, is stealing things for someone. I’m on a Quest also, and my Quest is to figure out what’s going on around here.”
Davey turned to Geneva. “You said you’re on a Quest. What is your Quest about?”
“I need to bring some useful information or thing back to the Fairy Ring,” Geneva replied.
Davey looked at James next. “And what’s your Quest?”
“My Quest?” James asked. “I’m not on a Quest. I’m Carla’s friend, and she asked me to come with her.”
“Are you eleven years old?”
“Then I think you, too, are on a Quest. I think the four of us have been brought together. Or, at least, I think it will be more fun if the four of us do our Quests together,” Davey said, smiling. Until you get to know a dragon, a dragon’s smile can be a bit frightening. But, it’s nothing compared to the face of an angry dragon.
James thought about this. “A Quest? I haven’t been all that comfortable with this whole adventure, and to think that there’s some big mystery that I need to solve just makes it worse.” He shrugged. “But, it’s too late now. I’m in this with the rest of you!”
Davey looked at Carla. “So, what do we do now?”
“Is the north road around here somewhere?” Carla asked.
“I think so,” Davey said. “It’s hard to say for sure without checking, but I thought I saw a road cutting through the trees a short distance from here.”
“That’s what I thought,” Carla said. “I don’t know where he’s going, but I think that gnome is generally following the north road. I think we should try to follow him.”
James’ stomach rumbled. “After breakfast?” James asked, hopefully.
“Sure, good idea,” Carla said.
Geneva wanted to track down that gnome and get her Wingstone back, but she had to admit that the plan sounded like a good one.
Davey quickly caught a few fish from the river and the four companions had a hearty breakfast.
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